Friday, July 31, 2009


The cooler weather we've been having this week reminds me that football season will soon be here. That means I'm getting semi-psyched, and my ol' pal Dr. Maureen is likely foaming at the mouth, dragging out all her Carolina Panthers gear and polishing up her season tickets.
The kindly doctor and I spent our college years cheering for the Pittsburg State Gorillas. Her father, Papa Joe, was a line coach for the team, although many old players would likely tell you he was the brains behind the whole, successful organization. Joe was a loud, gruff, bulldog sort of guy on the field, but when I'd see him with his only daughter, he was a total pussycat. When she would exasperate him with her typical Maureen behavior, which was often flamboyant and outspoken, he would just shake his head and grin and bear it, as if he was saying, "Well, that's Maureen for you."
Joe was also the swim team coach at Pitt. I always thought his dual roles were rather strange--a football coach steering a ragtag team of waterboys with non-football names like Gaylord and Stu. During their races he yelled at them like they were playing on the gridiron. When they did well, he was their biggest cheerleader; when they came up short, his reaction was kinda like the way he was with Maureen--a little smile, shrug, "you tried" attitude. No helmets to grab or shoulder pads to whack.
I think it would have been hard to switch coaching mentalities, but I never really saw Joe go ballistic with a swimmer. I think Maureen, however, gave holy hell to one of them she was dating in her post-college years. Had he witnessed the encounter, her father likely would have gotten a kick out of it. "You go after 'im!" I can imagine him saying. "That's my girl!" If there's one thing Dr. Maureen learned from her father, it was ALWAYS to make a big splash.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Among the "surprise volunteers" in our yard this summer is this morning glory-gone-wild. I call it a bully because it has knocked over the zinnias that I'd actually planted in that spot, smothered a cool rock from Lake Fegan, and is forever trying to strangle the ornamental corn leaves behind it. When it first started popping up, I made the mistake of having Big Bore provide it with some wiring to climb around on, but it has gone overboard. If it makes a return visit next year, I'm yanking it up before it has a chance to become an unwelcome guest in our garden.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Today's burning question is for all you gals who get your regular "female tests." Which is more painful? A mammogram or a pap smear? I ask because this was the dreaded Mammo Day for the Flaming Bore, and Pap Day is lurking a few weeks away.

I have been a faithful exam taker of both tests since my early twenties. A benign breast cyst was removed when I was 32, and I'll spare you the details on my cervical surgeries, which have fancy names I can't recall at the moment. Anyway, I consider myself to be well qualified to make a scientific determination as to which test is the more painful. Trouble is, I can't decide. They both hurt like hell.

Now I don't want to reveal too much about my body parts, but my breast tissue is termed in the medical world as "dense." I'm not sure what this means other than the mammograms are difficult to read, thus I rarely get away with just having the single routine set of "pictures" taken by the mammo photographer. Oh, no. I have to go back for a second and sometimes third set of shots that are squishier and more painful than the first. The only saving grace is that modern medical technology has improved the mammo machines somewhat, as the torture squeeze device now has an automated release. Back in the old days, it was hand cranked--thus, the suffering was more prolonged. More than once I buckled at the knees and had to sit down with a wash rag around my neck before the procedure could continue. Are you having fun reading this yet?

The pap/pelvic exam doesn't take as long to do, of course, but I'm not one much for opening wide and having orifices scraped and probed. Over the years I have learned the hard way that these exams are not as painful when administered by a woman with small hands and fingers. Once I hooked up with a miniature gynecologist who works swiftly, the check-up became more tolerable.

I am glad there are exams that exist to check for potential health problems, but I am waiting for the day when we can just be checked by having a magical medical wand waved conmfortably over our bodies. Until then, my vote for the more painful of the two procedures is, drum roll-- the pap smear. Hopping on the scales is not an office requirement before getting the mammo; the pap people always have to check my weight before I strip down. Now, THAT'S agony!!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was jogging along at the school track last night, 11th lap, when a young stud zipped by me, making me long for the days when I could have given him a run for his money. He stopped to rest after his first lap, I eventually chugged by him, but on the backstretch there he was again passing me. This time, he spoke:

HIM: "How many laps are you doing?"

ME: "Twelve. This is my last one."

HIM: "Wow! That's great!"

ME: "I'm slow, but it's not bad for someone who's 60."

HIM: "Well, you've had lots of years to build up your stamina," he said, leaving me behind.

I don't think that last remark was meant as a compliment, but last night's jog DID reinforce the old adage: time has a way of sneaking up on us. (P.S. I hope that kid pulled a hamstring and won't be out at the track tonight.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I averted a near crisis this morning. I have a favorite pair of flip-flops, lime green, and the rubber toe separator of the left one popped out. After surveying the damage, I was able to shove it back into place, but I think it's only a matter of time before my top flops are no longer. Woe will be the day.

My shoe wardrobe consists of a pair of basic black pumps, hiking boots, about a dozen pairs of running and walking shoes, and six pairs of flip-flops--blue, yellow, purple, red/white/blue, purple/white, and the aforementioned lime green ones. The soles of the latter are almost smooth and one can see the indentation of heels and toes on the upper side--a sign of the years of loyal wear and tear.

I've been a full-time flip-flopper ever since the days when they were called thongs, back when I was a teeny bopper. God forbid if you call them by the archaic name nowadays. I made that innocent mistake during my teaching years, complimenting a student's decorated "cute thongs." She did an indignant double take and corrected me on the spot. Ooops! My bad.

I'm working on my next shopping list when I journey to the city, and you can bet a pair of cheap lime green flip-flops, identical to the weary ones I have now, will be at the top. I fear this may turn into a search akin to trying to find the Holy Grail because only a certain, special pair will do. When it comes to flip-flops, my taste is highly discriminatory. Solid lime green, rubber only, pliable--$3, but I'll go as high as $5. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I took this picture of my great nephew Boomer yesterday when I was in Pittsburg. He was wielding the mouse like a pro. Yes, folks, a 3-year-old has more computer smarts than I have! I just hope he sticks to wearing his big boy underpants when working at the computer and doesn’t start showing up in a suit and tie.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Well, I'm off to an early morning tutoring session, then to Fredonia to water and deadhead the flower garden at Mama Bore's old homestead, then onward to Pittsburg to kidnap MB from the assisted living home for a while. When I asked her on the telephone yesterday where she wanted to have lunch, she wasn't too keen on coming up with a joint, but she was darned sure we'd have to make a trip to Wal-Mart. Oh, joy! My credit card is heating up. --Here are some marigolds from Casa de la Flaming Bore (that's Mexican feather grass in the background) just for you! Merry Monday!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Sunday is the day of rest, and here is where I intend to be relaxing this afternoon--crashed out with a book and swaying in the breeze.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Well, after listening to the neighbor's $#%!@ dog bark for almost two hours, beginning at 3:24 AM, Big Bore called the local gestapo--again. It's going to be a long day.

I sponsored Game Night for 14 teens at the library last night. They weren't nearly as noisy as the damned dog. Refreshments consisted of an ice cream sundae bar. I was introduced to chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream--instant BFF!

I'm deadheading at the library this morning. Have a kid helper who is going to weed. We're getting an early start, and then it's off to the Garden Club spot to water. By the time all that is done, I'll be ready for a nice nap--provided Mr. Barker next door has shut the $#@! up. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

My Facebook has all these messages about links and games that I am clueless about. Typing Maniac, Birthday Club, Yo-ville, Barn Buddy, etc. I hope my 39 Friends don't ditch me for not participating. I have too much to do elsewhere--like yelling at the Barking Maniac outside my window!!

Gotta go slurp some peppermint tea and calm down. May your weekend be peaceful.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Tim Raglin, a children’s book author and illustrator from Independence, visited our local library Wednesday. I bought one of his books (see above) for Maddie and Boomer. I’m going to give it to them when their baby brother arrives in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to read it aloud to them because it is so funny. “I’m sick and tired of lamb burgers and sloppy does and three-pig salad for dinner!“ says Little Wolf. "I want BOY!!!!”

I’m also going to attempt to bake another angel food cake, hopefully one without air bubble canyons, and I’ll let the kids decorate it. Boomer can dip his sweet little fingers into as must frosting as he desires. I figure everyone will be fussing over the new baby, so we’ll have our own birthday party for him while he’s asleep and have a howling good time

Thursday, July 16, 2009



Three years ago this month, I retired and Big Bore, in need of surgery and a caring friend, moved in to Casa de la Flaming Bore. Three months earlier, I'd started digging around in the backyard, in my quest to eradicate evil Bermuda grass from my life, and picture #1 shows you how far I’d gotten at the time BB arrived. Luckily, once he recuperated from his hospital gig, he was as keen about digging and planting as I was. When I look at how the yard has evolved, I am simply amazed--that my back didn't flip out. And, except for the fence, we did it all ourselves. I have lived on this small patch of earth for 27 years and am ashamed that it took so long for me to turn it into a piece of art. My ex was never inclined to do any work on the yard other than mowing, and I was always tethered to my jobs and clueless about how to get started. Thank-you, Big Bore, for encouraging my vision and sharing the load--with patience and very little whining. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This week I've been taking care of the Garden Club downtown garden again. The area is long and narrow, where a burned-out building once stood, and it is just stuffed with all sorts of flowers--many of which I don't have in my own yard and, even if I did, they wouldn't look nearly as grand.

About all we have to do at this point is weed, dead head, and water. I consider myself to be rather obsessive/compulsive when it comes to the first two tasks. My own yard gets hit up at least twice daily by my picking radar, and I've lost track of the number of times I've been tempted to trespass onto someone else's turf in order to rid it of an ugly intruder or deadbeat flower that is past its prime.

Saturday will be my final day of the week to babysit with the beauties for the Garden Club. Until then, you'll see me clipping and pinching and giving the foliage a tender caress after I spruce it up, saying, "You girls look mah-velous!!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Big Bore and I share the pet peeve of overly excited weathermen who interrupt what we're watching on TV with their Sky is Falling reports. We get all absorbed into some network program and then, BAM! "There's a raindrop in Colorado! Run for your life!"

A week ago a sudden hail storm bombarded a neighborhood in Wichita, so we had to hear about it for 30 minutes, long after the storm AND the show we'd been watching were over. There was debate over the size of the hailstones--was it quarter-sized or baseball-sized? Let's analyze these pictures of five hailstones and see. Then, of course, we had to be educated with, "Hail can causes serious damage, so get your cars in your garage as soon as possible." Big Bore's response: "Well, duh! I didn't know that!"

The newscasters have been milking last week's hail drop for all they can. Last night one of the stations had a follow-up story on damage estimates, incuding an in-depth interview with a roofer. I'll give 'em credit, though. At least this up-to-the-second story was during the regular news program and NOT a break-in during my beloved "The Bachelorette."

Our precious TV viewing did not go unscathed last night, however. "We interrupt our commercial time to report...."

"Oh, no!" Big Bore shouted. "There's basketball-sized hail falling in Colorado!!"

Actually, a thunderstorm was brewing in Cheyenne county, in the far northwest corner of Kansas, probably 300 miles from here. Apparently it didn't amount to more than a bit of lightning and thunder, much to our delight, so we didn't have to miss out on a single second of non-commercial, quality boob tubing--meaning we got to see every single amazing, awesome detail of Jillian and Ed's overnight date in the Fantasy Suite on "The Bachelorette." It ended with the bedroom lights being turned back on and Ed conked out on the bed, Jillian massaging his back, likely mumbling, "We interrupt this program with some pea-sized performance anxiety." I hope she remembered to park her car in the garage.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


While chomping on mountain oyster sandwiches at the Nut Hut yesterday, my gal pal Blondie (formerly Red) and I had a conference about men. She would like one. But, sadly, not just any ol' guy will do. She's a cutie pie, independent, and active, and she is not willing to settle for thugs or deadbeats. What's wrong with her??? Her ideal mate is between 50-60, physically fit, handsome, a good dancer (especially to country music), keen on motorcycles and vintage cars, industrious, and without a lot of excess baggage liked spoiled brat kids or dependent ex-wives. Alas, her perfect man is missing in action.

"Have you tried any of those online dating services?" I asked. "I know several couples who met that way and ended up getting married."

"I've already checked out the one on Yahoo," she lamented. "They all looked like ax murderers! That's all I need. Woman chopped into little bitty pieces while on Internet date."

"Check out Maybe the choices there are better. But be prepared. I think most of the guys in our age group are probably looking for women in their 30's."

"I know," Blondie sighed, "but men who are 60 are too old for me. I don't really want to be with a guy who's 60."

"Me either! You can't blame 'em. Who wants to be with anyone our age?!"

Well, I'm still hell-bent on finding a mighty fine date for her before summer is over, so I've started checking out the Internet dating services and I've given her a few nibbles to consider. If you know of anyone who fills the bill and would like to meet a gal who can drive a tractor AND a Harley, let me know. As the old saying goes, "A good man is hard to find," but I'm up to the challenge. I gave up my own such search decades ago, but maybe I'll have better luck shopping around for someone else.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I wasn't attached to the television yesterday watching the tribute to pop icon Michael Jackson, but I did find myself humming "Thriller" when I started jogging my first lap out at the track last night. The only word I know to it is, "thriller," (duh), but I always liked the zombie-rocking music video of the song. I never bought any of MJ's albums--his high-pitched squeal never much appealled to me, but I still was sorry to learn of his passing. He was someone's son, brother, and father, and his legions of fans will miss him.

Jackson is among a long, growing list of performers whose oddball lifestyles seem to have eclipsed their talent. I could never figure out why this handsome man was compelled to re-mold his face to frightening proportions, grab his crotch, and hang out with a chimpanzee, but to each his own. We all have our little quirks. He was never found guilty of the child molestation charges that plagued his later years, but let's face it: anyone in his or her right mind who invites little boys to private sleepovers is just begging for public criticism and suspicion. Why risk it?

Some people seem hell-bent on self-sabotage, and Michael Jackson likely ran in that crowd. I don't pretend to understand why people who appear to "have it all" end up in tragic circumstances, but it happens over and over and over again. MJ is just one more sad example of a brilliant life and career cut short--a victim of success and excess. Sometimes becoming a thriller doesn't come cheaply and there is a price to pay.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


You know you're getting really old when "The Twilight Zone" marathon on Sci-Fi Channel takes priority over going out to see the fireworks display on the 4th of July.

Earlier in the day Big Bore and I had talked about watching the grand show from the hill west of town, but we first had to view his favorite "Zone" episode at 9:30 PM, which was fine by me. By the time it was over, 30 minutes later, we'd lost our energy and nerve to leave the safety of our house and venture into the blasted unknown.

"Well, there goes another ten dollars up in smoke," BB remarked after an explosion shook the living room.

I am glad Independence Day is here because maybe after tonight I will feel free to go outdoors and not have my ears bombarded. In the meantime, we are hiding in our foxhole, awaiting the cease fire, sipping on a relaxing a cup tea. Zoned out.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I've never had any doubt that I would live to see 60; I just didn't expect it to arrive as quickly as it did. Big Bore and I had reservations to celebrate tonight at Cabaret Oldtown in Wichita. It's a musical/comedy venue, and the current show is "One-Hit Wonders." We got a phone call a few days back, though, that the show had been cancelled, so that shot my plans to spend #60 by singing and laughing. BB said he'd be glad to serenade and tickle me, instead, but I passed on his generous offer.

The day was still a pleasant one. Besides receiving many nice birthday greetings, I donated some books to the library, tutored a college kid, yapped with some friends at the post office and bank, piddled in the yard, rode my bike, and jogged three miles. When I got home, BB had prepared one of my favorites suppers: vegetable soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Yum-meee!

Turning 60 wasn't nearly as depressing as I thought it might be. In fact, it wasn't depressing at all. Full speed ahead!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


My longtime pal Maggie (we've been chums since first grade) gave me an angel food cake mix and an angel food cake pan for my birthday. She knows I love angel food cake, and she knows I am void of anything resembling a cooking skill, so she thought she'd help me out.

"It only requires cold water, and you don't even have to grease the pan," Maggie pointed out. "You can't mess it up!"

Yeah, sure. I was willing to give it a try, though, and when Big Bore offered to stand in for me and bake it himself, I insisted upon doing the job. After all, it'd been 30 years since I last baked myself a birthday cake--bundt with pink frosting--I was overdue for some practice.

So, I made the cake last night but decided not to remove it from the pan until we got to Big Sis's house in Pittsburg today. She didn't trust me to extricate it correctly, so I let her have the honors. Out came my angel food cake--with two big gaps on one side!

"Didn't you get the air bubbles out before you put it in the oven?" she asked.

"Air bubbles? The directions didn't say anything about air bubbles," I answered.

"You run a knife through the mix," she said.

"Or tap the pan on the counter a few times," added Chef Big Bore.

"Well, this is a job for frosting!" I proclaimed. I appointed my 9-year-old great nephew Luke the chief decorator before I went outside to play. He was hesitant to do the assignment, thinking he might make a mess of it, but I told him it couldn't look any worse than it already did so he obliged. He lathered on the white frosting and sprinkled on some red and blue stars and stripes. Voila!

Now, the really hilarious thing about this pathetic masterpiece happened when Maddie (5) and Boomer (3) arrived from day care to join the party. They dashed into the kitchen to see the cake, and you would have thought it came straight from some Food Network cooking contest.

"Oooooooh, it's beautiful!!" Maddie exclaimed. Boomer immediately went for the taste test, fingering the frosting.

Big Sis added six candles, while making a wise-acre comment about how there was a city ordinance against inserting the correct number. She struck up some matches, the gang sang "Happy Birthday," I blew out the candles, and we dug in. For something so totally hideous looking, it was one sweet birthday treat. In fact, it was yummy to the last crumb. Thanks, Maggie!

(Before and after the frosting.)